Orlando Magic Grades: Boston Celtics 116, Orlando Magic 100

Jayson Tatum's shot making helped guid the Boston Celtics past the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jayson Tatum's shot making helped guid the Boston Celtics past the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Jayson Tatum hit the big shots when the Boston Celtics needed them to erase a solid Orlando Magic effort on the road in front of a national TV audience.

38. 116. 18. Final. 100

The Orlando Magic were a gnat the Boston Celtics could not shake. Every time the Celtics seemed to get some traction, the Magic buried a three or did something to keep themselves in the game. They kept the game tight and suffocated the Celtics defensively.

Boston was trying to find some breathing room. The Celtics would have to create it for themselves. Jayson Tatum would have to create it for himself.

Jayson Tatum scored 14 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, hitting tough jumpers over Aaron Gordon and then Evan Fournier. The Magic really had no answer.

The momentum plays the Magic needed to try to keep pace fell no good. Terrence Ross went cold as he fired from three. Nikola Vucevic missed his share of 3-pointers. And Aaron Gordon, the guy who was carrying the team offensively, struggled to keep pace in his individual matchup with Jayson Tatum.

Orlando went cold at the wrong time to give away the lead. But it was the Magic’s 17 turnovers that hurt them most. That led to 17 points off turnovers. And that was crushing to a Magic team with such a small margin for error against elite teams like the Celtics.

With Tatum hitting shot after shot and the Magic unable to answer, the Celtics finally got some distance in the fourth quarter and hid for a 116-100 win at TD Garden on Wednesday, in the Magic’s lone scheduled national television appearance.

The Celtics’ shotmaking and playmaking throughout the game deserves a ton of credit. Jayson Tatum played exceptionally well and Gordon Hayward hit key shots in the third quarter to give the Celtics some breathing room. Good players made good plays.

But the Magic shot themselves in the foot in some uncharacteristic ways too. If this were just about the Magic missing shots, they would probably be able to live with the defeat a little bit more. The turnovers were a constant story throughout the game, often killing the Magic’s momentum and turning the game into a ragged affair.

Orlando’s defense was on point for most of the night. The team was physical and did a good job closing out on shooters. They created their own turnovers and got out in transition on several occasions. The Magic looked like the team they envisioned they could be on both ends with the ball zipping around too.

But Orlando could not sustain it the whole game. Their shooting fell short in the fourth quarter. And the Magic could not generate offense, making their mistakes and lack of playmaking look a whole lot bigger.

Orlando Magic. AARON GORDON. B+. Something got into Aaron Gordon early on in the game. The Orlando Magic were looking specifically to get him the ball in the post early on and he responded. And Gordon put on a dizzying array of post moves that seemed to be the kind of thing he worked on during the offseason. Gordon looked like the player everyone envisioned.<p>For a while, it looked like Aaron Gordon was going toe to toe with Jayson Tatum. He finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. The Magic did a good job getting him the ball in spots where he could isolate a favorable matchup or getting him the ball in space to run toward the rim. This was Gordon at his best.</p><p>But things were not all rosy. He cooled off by the end of the third quarter. Gordon made several key mistakes in the fourth quarter and could not sustain his star-level play to keep up with the Celtics’ play. Gordon had five turnovers in the game. He still made a lot of poor decisions — aggressive attacking decisions, but poor nonetheless — that cost his team. A good scoring effort for sure, but the Magic maybe needed more.</p>. F

<a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER. A-

A-. The Orlando Magic struggled defensively to start the game. They were getting picked pretty easily and not playing physically on the ball. The Boston Celtics got whatever they wanted. Then <a href=. PG. Orlando Magic. MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS

NIKOLA VUCEVIC. C. <a href=. C. Orlando Magic

The Boston Celtics have fought off injuries in the same way the Orlando Magic have. Maybe not the permanent long-lasting injuries the Magic have. But guys have been in and out of the lineup for the Celtics all year. But Boston has the depth to withstand it. The Celtics have a whole lot of guys who can create their own shots.<p>Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward were the big culprits against the Magic. Tatum scored 34 and Hayward added 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. They hit the big shots to keep the Magic at bay. But it was contributions from Brad Wannamaker (eight points and two 3-pointers) and especially <a rel=. 35-15. 3rd East. BOSTON CELTICS. A-

The Orlando Magic are now 22-29 and eighth in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games behind the Brooklyn Nets for seventh. They are 3.5 games ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the final playoff spot.

Next. Orlando Magic must decide to trust their youth. dark

The Orlando Magic are back in action Thursday against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m.